Video Game Addiction: Symptom Checklist

Are you worried about your child’s video game habits? Take a look at this video game addiction symptoms checklist I created to see if you have cause for alarm. While this is not a diagnostic tool, it can help you assess whether or not games are an unhealthy part of your child’s life and if you might need the help of a professional.

(Scoring Instructions. 1=never; 2= rarely; 3= sometimes; 4=often; 5= constant)

  1. ____ Spends more and more time playing video games or cyber-activities.
  2. ____ Argues about and resists any restrictions put on video game or Internet use.
  3. ____ Withdraws from friends and activities to spend time playing.
  4. ____ Repeatedly breaks family rules about when and how much game playing is allowed.
  5. ____ Sneaks and lies about game playing or Internet use.
  6. ____ Neglects school work and other responsibilities because of play or use.
  7. ____ Throws temper tantrums when limits are imposed.
  8. ____ Neglects relationships because of cyber-use,
  9. ____ Thinks about playing or cyber-use when not actively doing so.
  10. ____ Is unhappy or depressed when not playing or using computer/Internet.
  11. ____ Neglects sleep in order to play of use computer/Internet.
  12. ____ Neglects personal hygiene and appearance because of cyber-use.
  13. ____ Tries to limit cyber-use time but is unable to do so.
  14. ____ Family members or friends complain about person’s cyber-use.
  15. ____ Continues to play or use in spite of negative consequences.
  16. ____ Is only happy when playing or on-line.
  17. ____ More and more friends are gamers or on-line friends.
  18. ____ Plays games or stays on line longer than planned.
  19. ____ Skips school or work to play or go on line.
  20. ____ Denies that there is any problem in spite of negative consequences.

Scores range between 20 and 100. Scores above 59 indicate possible addiction. Get the help of a trusted mental health professional if you think your child needs support.

We’ve also created a tool called the “I’d Rather Inventory” for adults who are worried that video games are taking over a child’s life. While this is not a diagnostic tool, it is a helpful “first pass” to help you determine whether or not gaming or Internet use is becoming a problem.